When something is bothering you about your spouse, what do you do? Whether we realize it or not, we have a number of options. We can get mad and share our feelings with our spouse or we can just get mad and wait for them to figure it out. We can ignore it and act like something that bothered us really did not. We can look at ourselves and take responsibility for our part.
The point is that we have choices and some of them are better than others. Some will grow our marriage; others will hurt it. Some will strengthen our relationship with our spouse; others will not. For me the key is taking the time to choose the option that will get the result I want.
Here is a process that works for me. If Nancy does something that bothers me, the first thing that I do is rate it. In the big picture, how big a deal is this? If it is a one, two or three on a one to ten scale, it is usually not worth making a big deal out of it, but I need to do something. For me, it is making the choice to either let go or give it to God. What do I mean by giving it to God? I just say something like, “God, I don’t think this is a battle I need to fight. I know you are molding Nancy into the perfect mate for me and I need to just put this in your hands. If it is something you want to impress on her, great. If not, I let it go.”
If it is a four, five, six or seven, then it is probably something I need to bring up, but only after I have prayed about it. I need to let God examine my heart and ask for His wisdom. Then I can let Nancy know there is something that is important to me that I want to discuss with her. I can let her know what is bothering me and ask her if we can work towards a solution that works for us and our marriage. It is not about making her feel bad about something. It is about us solving a problem together.
For the things that fall into the eight to ten category, I would begin as I did with four through seven. I need to get past any anger and let God help me look at things objectively. Then I need to find a time that works for Nancy and I to talk it through. I can say what the problem is and then make sure she understands what I am saying. Then I can get her input and perspective. Sometimes that alone resolves the problem. If not, we can talk through options together and come up with one that works for both of us. It is the two us standing together to solve the problem instead of getting caught up in how I would solve it or Nancy would solve it.
You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of work.” You are right, it is, BUT instead of a problem or issue hurting your marriage, you are actually working together to grow your marriage. The time and effort you invest is more than worth it. Choose the option that gets the results you really want -- the one that gives you an Awesome Marriage!